Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Social Network

Social media has been on the rise since the '90s. Starting with MySpace, progressing through Facebook, and  continuing with Twitter and Instagram. I, for one, never participated in MySpace; Facebook was my first venture into social networking when it was still restricted to college students. Since then I've joined LinkedIn, the professional network, and I dabbled in Pinterest for about a week before calling it quits (I didn't really understand it and didn't want to deal with it after my interest fizzled).

Three days ago, however, I joined a new "club:" Twitter. At first, I didn't understand it. I wasn't interested in joining these millions of networks not knowing who was going to bump into my account. However, my interest grew insidiously from recommendations from friends and siblings, so eventually I caved. And, to my own surprise, I am hooked. Within 24 hours I found myself incessantly checking statuses and searching for new people to follow. So far my collection includes various sports analysts, Chelsea soccer, Barcelona Soccer, Giants Football, Paula Deen, Snooki, some of the Kardashians, Brit Brit, Ricky Gervais, Aziz Ansari, E! News, a bunch of friends, and more. Needless to say, I rarely find myself bored these days since there are always new tweets and instagrams to check up on. No wonder this has caught like wildfire and sucked me in with it!

While I'm completely in love with twitter, it has caused me to once again reflect on American culture. Aside from the friend who urged me to join, most others have had that "why would you do that?" response when I've shared with them my new obsession. But is it really that shocking? Just as facebook was (and arguably still is) a means of instant procrastination with a sense of social belonging, twitter offers that same gratification. Even Pinterest, which I still don't buy into, is loved by many, many of my friends... social belonging is fulfilled by pinning to your friends boards, its a wonderful means of procrastination, and it triggers pleasure centers in your brain looking at pictures of delicious goodies, beautiful places to visit, or creative projects you're dying to try... albeit this is more of a network geared towards girls since you can post an unimaginable amount of the above mentioned goodies, travel sites, or DIY (do-it-yourself) projects.

Twitter offers all those same feelings of social ties, but adds the sense of actual interaction with your favorite celebrities, politicians, sports announcers, sports teams, athletes, organizations, etc. What could be better than watching the X-Factor and feeling like your hanging with Brit Brit as she tweets through the entire show about her feelings regarding the contestants? Or how about getting a play-by-play of your favorite soccer match while at the laundromat? Or getting to hear the sass of your favorite comedian throughout the day? It's instant entertainment at any given moment. Plus you get to add in your own 2 cents whenever you feel like it.

Now, I'm not a spokesperson, but I imagine this is what any advocate of twitter would argue and then some. However, I will admit I waste an incessant amount of time these days waiting for my job to start so I had to entertain myself with something and twitter happened to find me at the right time. And because of that, I felt the need to share with you what I've learned about this bit of American culture gone wild: it can be quite addictive.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Happy PA week!

The end of PA week has come and I felt it was time that I contribute to promote my profession. I'm a Physician Assistant, which means I am a trained graduate of a masters program in medical education, I've passed a national certification exam, and I am licensed by the state to provide medical care to patients in almost every medical specialty, including diagnostic testing, managing patient care, and administering treatment to patients. I work as part of a team with medical assistants, nurses, and supervising physicians. Want to know more about how PAs are providing necessary medical care in today's society? Here's a great video on PAs: I'm a PA

Here's a link to my page on PAs, Health, and Medicine where you can find even more information about this great profession. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Apple Crisp!

Just as it wouldn't be fall without apple picking (even if it's in the rain), it wouldn't be fall without delicious fall treats. Everyone goes nuts for Starbucks Pumpkin Latte's, the Pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers start popping into the seasonal spots at the tap, and pies are back in style. But what about our apples we so lovingly pluck from their trees each year? Since I personally am not a pie aficionado, I went for the apple crisp recipes this season.

Apparently there are two ways to make apple crisp: with or without oats. I did not know this was such an issue, but as I was discussing it over the phone with my mother while Howie was in the room, I came to realize this must be some kind of a big deal. My mother was trying to tell me to just use bisquick, meanwhile the online recipe I found called for oats. Howie took no time jumping in: "You northerners and Bisquick, that's not how you make apple crisp! You need oats!" Needless to say I had no response for either of them other than, "I already bought the oats, so that's how I'll do it this time." And it came out great!

Apple Crisp
Courtesy of Betty Crocker, with my own twist
4 Apples peeled and sliced (choose to use apples on the tart side)
1/3 cup Butter (or margarine)
1/2 cup Old fashioned Oats
1/2 cup All purpose Flour
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp Cinnamon
3/4 tsp Nutmeg
Generous handful of chopped Pecans (eye ball it how you like, use whatever nut you like, or don't use any nuts at all if you like!)

1. Preheat the over to 375 degrees (I preheated mine to 350 because I know my oven bakes quickly) and grease an 8x8 pan. Now, I never remember to buy shortening or Crisco for greasing pans, so whenever I bake I do it the old fashioned way with butter... call me crazy, but that's what I usually have in the house and I don't bake often enough to change my ways.

2. Spread your peeled and sliced apples evenly in the pan.

3. Combine all other ingredients well and then spread over the top of the apples. Bake for 30 minutes or until  top is golden brown and apples are fork-tender.

4. Enjoy this deliciousness!!


Why I chose to add pecans: Howie is in love with them. End of story. However, these nuts are on the sweeter side. Being a sweet nut, it goes perfectly with the apple crisp. If I had to choose a second recommendation I'd say go with walnuts if you prefer those. Walnuts are also commonly used in snacks and desserts, so have at it :) 

Monday, October 8, 2012

How to have a successful rainy day...

... Choose to go on an adventure despite the lousy weather report.

This is exactly what two of my girlfriends and I did this week. Since we are still currently between school and work, we've had some time off and have been trying to take advantage of our days. Naturally, given the season, we planned a day of apple picking and shopping at Woodbury Commons, a premier outlet complex. It wasn't until the night before that we discovered the forecast was questionable with a 30% chance of rain all day. We woke up that morning to cloudy skies and decided to take our chances.

We made our way north to a small family owned apple orchard excited to indulge in this fall tradition. Despite knowing that we might get rained on, none of us dressed appropriately - me in leather boots, one in canvas sneakers, and the other in flip-flops. Well, we lasted all of 10 minutes at the orchard before the drizzle started. With our poles in hand we reached for apples taking breaks under the tree branches to avoid the rain drops (we did take advantage of this "down time" to sneak an apple as a snack... they are just so sweet and delicious when they have been just pulled off the tree). Though the rain came and went, and then came again, we were determined to fill our bags - which we ultimately did. Apple picking is always a treat and a must-do activity when given the opportunity. Plus, its and excuse to make fall favorites, such as apple crisp (post coming soon!)

Happy with our adventure! 
In nice weather, Woodbury Commons is packed with hustle and bustle. The people swarm along the cobblestone paths though the different clusters of shops. With over 200 stores, this is a place where you could easily get lost. If you live in the Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam county region of New York - this is an adventure you should take... hopefully on a nice sunny day. Unfortunately, the rains picked up just as we arrived turning from a drizzly rain to a downpour. We first made our way to the food pavilion to warm ourselves up with some hot soup. Before we left the food pavilion we made a plan to go directly to the stores we wanted to go in, no meandering in this weather. We darted around to Nine West, American Eagle, Gap, J. Crew, Puma, and Loft outlet before calling it quits... By the time we had gotten that far, we were pooped. Next time, hopefully I'll have better material to write about with out the weather stealing the show. All in all we still came home with apples and new goodies from the outlets :)

Our drive to Woodbury Commons

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I grew up watching the Giants with my dad and grandfather, but never stretched out to following teams in other divisions. I knew the Giants and I knew to hate their rivals, the Cowboys and the Eagles (sorry Redskins, but no one was ever that worried about you until RG3 showed up this year). Last year I learned a lot more about teams and players who I had previously never heard due to my initiation into Fantasy Football, despite being a "football" fan for years.

My rookie year didn't go so hot, but it didn't go so poorly either, since I was fortunate enough in 2011 to be allowed to continue this season in Howie's league. Fantasy has completely changed my Sundays and Monday nights. Instead of watching and caring for only the Giants, I now worry throughout the day about my  10 starters and whether I should have switched anyone with my 7 bench players... none of which are Giant's team members this year. So that's 18 "parties" I'm keeping track of, some of which might be playing each other.

Today I'm sitting here (with my Hopfen Weiss) hoping for New England's offense to rock it, though I despise the Patriots (an unofficial rival due to my previous residence in CT). Tonight I'll be praying for Drew Brees to throw touchdown after touchdown, and at the same time hoping for the opposing offense to have huge success with their running back. Seattle and Atlanta are teams I've never watched before this year, and now I keep tabs on their games each week. I now understand the conversations I used to scoff at between Howie and my brother regarding their various fantasy teams and who was doing what.

This year my team has gotten off to a rocky start, losing my first three games despite the projected high quality of my starting lineup. My heart strings are constantly pulled based on the efforts of my players . Hopefully I'll make it to the playoffs this year, but the success of my Sundays will no longer be determined based on the Giant's success.